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See also: müslin


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A 1793 portrait by Angelica Kauffmann of Henrietta Ponsonby, Countess of Bessborough wearing a muslin dress


From French mousseline, from Italian mussolina, from Mussolo ‎(Mosul), that is Mosul in northern Iraq (compare 1875 Knight, Edward H., Knight's American Mechanical Dictionary, V2 p1502: "Muslins are so called from Moussol in India.")


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muslin ‎(plural muslins)

  1. (textile) Any of several varieties of thin cotton cloth.
    • 1875, Edward H. Knight, Knight's American Mechanical Dictionary, Vol.2 p.1502:
      A bleached or unbleached thin white cotton cloth, unprinted and undyed. [Nineteen varieties are thereafter listed.]
    • 1906, Stanley J. Weyman, Chippinge Borough, chapterI:
      It was April 22, 1831, and a young man was walking down Whitehall in the direction of Parliament Street. He wore shepherd's plaid trousers and the swallow-tail coat of the day, with a figured muslin cravat wound about his wide-spread collar.
  2. (US) Fabric made of cotton, flax (linen), hemp, or silk, finely or coarsely woven.
    • 1875, Edward H. Knight, Knight's American Mechanical Dictionary, Vol.2 pp.1502−3:
      Other very different styles of fabric are now indifferently called muslins, and the term is used differently on the respective sides of the Atlantic.
  3. A term used for a wide variety of tightly-woven thin fabrics, especially those used for bedlinen.
  4. (US) Woven cotton or linen fabrics, especially when used for items other than garments.
  5. A dressmaker's pattern made from inexpensive cloth for fitting.


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